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The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts and Services of 48 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked and Exposed

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts and Services of 48 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked and Exposed

By Mark Levine, former intellectual property law attorney and president of Click Industries, Ltd.

BridgewayBooks, 2006

215 pages, $16.95

Review by Patricia Fry

If you are thinking about signing with a fee-based publishing service, you MUST read Mark Levine’s new book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Levine publicly analyzes 48 fee-based POD (or self-publishing) companies’ contracts and services and even ranks them for you. Levine says, "I can promise you that if you follow the advice in this book, you won’t get ripped off by any self-publishing company and may, in fact, negotiate a better deal. If you don’t follow the advice here, you may find yourself spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to battle an unscrupulous publisher."

Levine does more than just give you his opinion regarding self-publishing services. He helps you to decide by outlining nine qualities of a good self-publishing company and he explains why these qualities are important. For example, you should expect "generous royalties without any fuzzy math" and "a good reputation among writers" from a reputable self-publishing company. This author shows you not only how to check on the reputation of these companies, but how to interpret their contracts.

Levine fills one chapter by analyzing the fine print in self-publishing contracts, and then he begins naming names. Chapter six features the outstanding self-publishing companies that meet Levine’s strict requirements of ethics and good business practices. You’ll find some familiar companies listed as outstanding, including Booklocker, Infinity Publishing, Lulu and RJ Communications. Chapter seven profiles some "pretty good self-publishing companies" such as BookSurge and Writers World. Trafford and Xlibris made the list of "self-publishing companies that are just okay." And here’s what everyone wants to know: which self-publishers should you avoid? Chapter nine has the answer. Would it surprise you to know that AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica are listed there?

This certainly is a one-of-a-kind book designed to steer hopeful authors in the right direction. I particularly like that Levine strives to educate as well as inform authors.

If you are contemplating signing with a self-publishing company this year, do yourself a favor and first read Mark Levine’s book. It is definitely a five-star book for the hopeful author.

–Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN. She is the author of 25 books including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, which contains many additional book promotion ideas. To order:

Visit her blog often at



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